Sometimes, even with the best of care, acne causes scarring. Any time acne becomes red and inflamed, it may result in scarring. The best way to prevent acne scarring is to prevent breakouts. But, if scarring does occur, there are steps you can take to treat them.
Defining acne scarring
Not every acne breakout causes scarring. Acne scars can’t be defined as scars unless they remain a year after the breakout has cleared. This is because some redness and hyper pigmentation are normal for a period after an acne lesion has cleared. Skin regenerates normally. The outer layers of skin slough off and new skin is pushed to the top as new layers form underneath. This regeneration means that, as the outer layers slough off, the pigmentation from acne lesions may eventually disappear. You can help this process along a bit by regularly exfoliating your skin to encourage new layers to emerge.
Spots that remain after about a year can officially be defined as acne “scars.” There are a few steps you can take to reduce the appearance of scarring.
Vitamin E and other antioxidants have been found to help skin heal itself. For mild scarring, a topical antioxidant may be all you need to rejuvenate your skin.
For more extensive scarring, especially scarring that leaves “pits” (indentations) in the skin, treatment by a dermatologist may be necessary. Dermatologic treatment may include laser skin resurfacing and/or dermabrasion. There are also several surgical procedures that can be used to reduce scarring. Talk to your dermatologist about what options are best for you.